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Digging in

Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa - Matthew Fort

The food journalist weaves northward over Italy, feasting as he goes, relying on the friendliness and hospitality of the people he meets, despite limited Italian. His account of diverse sausages and endless pasta courses is lightly seasoned with reflections on Italy's changing agricultural and political landscape, as well as amusing mishaps and hair-raising struggles with traffic, and of course, recipes for the dishes he savours along the way.

Fort paints himself as a slightly buffoonish glutton, hapless on his scooter, at the mercy of unfriendly weather and generous strangers. I didn't develop more than ordinary human sympathy with him, and as a vegetarian, struggled with disgust at some of his numerous graphic descriptions of meat and animal fat. I felt that the whole narrative lacked shape and finally fell flat, ending with a whimper in Turin. I think Fort was much happier in the friendlier, meatier South, but is too polite to say so with force.